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California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced he will release $1 billion in funds to help address the state’s homeless crisis after previously pausing the aid.

After meeting with more than 100 mayors and other elected officials, Governor Newsom announced he would release the $1 billion in funding after putting it on hold two weeks ago. While speaking to reporters, the Governor said the meeting went well and “It was nice to hear their progress. And it was nice to hear their recognition that we have to get to another level. What I want to see is what everybody wants to see: the streets of California cleaned up. We want to see encampments cleaned up, we want to see people housed.”

Much-needed aid:
Local officials in California say the release in funding comes at a “crucial time” as the state continues to be impacted by record homelessness. Governor Newsom previously tied up the funding after reports submitted by local officials showed that the $1 billion would only reduce the state’s homeless population by 2% over the next four years. Governor Newsom called that “unacceptable.” He added, “At this pace, it would take decades to significantly curb homelessness in California. Everyone has to do better — cities, counties, and the state included. We are all in this together.”

Criticism from local officials:
Following the Governor’s previous freeze of homelessness funding, many local officials called out the Governor for “playing politics.” Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities, said, “Now is not the time to play politics when people’s lives are at stake. Failing to release state funding will not put roofs over the heads of Californians or deliver desperately needed supportive services.”


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